Describing Trends

How to identify and describe trends

Describing Trends

A trend is a general direction or tendency. It is important to identify trends when you write a description of graphical information.

You can only identify a trend in a graphic which shows change over a period of time.

On a simple chart like this it is easy to see that the trend was upwards (there was an upwards trend):


Similarly it is easy to see that the trend in the following graph was downwards (there was a downwards trend):



Sometimes the trend is less obvious and you have to read the graph carefully


In this case you can see that the amount of fish caught in Lithuania from 2013 to 2021 fluctuated (went up and down). But overall the amount rose very slightly, from nearly 75 thousand tonnes in 2013 to just over 86 thousand tonnes in 2021. So is the trend upwards? It looks like production increased over this period because in 2013 it was almost 75 thousand tonnes and in 2021 it was just over 86 thousand tonnes . It's not so simple with this graph to decide if the trend is up or down. After all, there was a huge increase in the catch in 2014 and this level was never reached again. The only solution is to use a program which will calculate the trend line for you, which is what we have done in the graph below.

You can see that the overall trend in this graph is downwards. You need to rely on the data instruments at your disposal to calculate a trend.

When describing a graph of this type you should state what the overall trend is (upwards, downward or unchanging), and mention the initial and final figures. You should also mention the lowest and highest points reached. For example, fish catches in Lithuania reached their peak in 2014 at 150 thousand tonnes. The lowest amount of caught in one year was 63 thousand tonnes in 2018.

You can see some examples of the use of trend lines in this article.

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